history of ivory carving is short when compared with most other arts in Japan.
However, this exquisite okimono of a sennin on horse exhibits unparalleled grace
and beauty in carved ivory sculptures. Although the style of this carving reflects
formal posture of the Chinese tradition, nonetheless, the graceful movement and
sublime expression are fully original. Judging by the elongated shape of this
highly stylized carving, the impeccable polychrome scrimshaw work, simplified
lines, curves and contrast inter-woven in perfect balance, the carver has succeeded
in his own unique artistry.
at eight inches tall, the ivory has a pronounced grain, and a light cream patina.
This okimono is a fine example of the extraordinary accomplishment of Japanese
ivory carving. Though we can confirm the superb ivory quality and artistic merit
of this fine piece, the signature Yoshiyama is unlisted in our library of reference.
Therefore we can only tentatively date the piece at late 19th to early 20th century.